Racing has always been one of my favourite genres, but I've only raced F1 cars as a small part of other games like Burnout or Gran Turismo. They are usually the fastest, most sought after cars that cost the most money and have the most power. In this sense, a racing simulation game that's dedicated to F1 sounds like the top class of clean, serious driving.
Before I get to the gameplay, I have to say even though the graphics are generally quite realistic, they turned out to be not as good as I hoped, especially on the cars themselves. When in the cockpit view of the Red Bull car I noticed giant pixellated logos right in front of the camera that are quite ugly and distracting. You can side-step this by just changing the camera - there are plenty of views to choose from - but once you notice it, it changes the way you look at the visuals overall.
That's not to mention the fact that the wing mirrors seem to only contain jagged sprites that disappear when they're more than a few meters behind you. These are only minor visual issues though, and are only apparent when you get the camera close enough.
In F1 2012
the career mode is split into three parts: the Young Driver Test introduction; the Seasonal Challenge and the main career. In each of these, you get to choose which team you want to race for, and you become the secondary driver to the champion of your team.
At the start of each race you sit in the cockpit and direct your team from there, with a great-looking and immersive menu system. Your team even help you out on the track, always giving you useful information, such as a warning when you're in danger of getting a penalty or suggesting a more effective fuel mix. They even let you know what your competitors are up to and motivate you to do better when you're falling behind.
The Young Driver Test is a short but important introduction to the game. In this section of the career mode you'll learn all about the car in a few short lessons during a race weekend. As well as all the basics, there are a couple of vital things that might be new to people who aren't used to the depth of F1.
Firstly, there's the KERS function, which adds a bit of horsepower to give you a little boost when you need it. This only lasts just a few seconds but refills at the start of each lap.
Then there's DRS, which changes the angle of the rear wing to give you minimum air resistance, allowing for a faster top speed. This can only be used in certain designated zones - usually straight sections - and you have to be within one second of the car in front of you to be able to use it. When you get the right chance to combine these, you can reach crazy high speeds and overtake a large chunk of the opposition in one go, so there's no doubt you should learn to make the best use of them.